Barcelona president Sandro Rosell was in a pretty combative mood Tuesday at a conference in Doha as he took aim at both FIFA and UEFA.
Rosell was asked whether clubs would ask FIFA and UEFA to pay players during the World Cup or European Championship and he replied:
“This is what we are discussing with both institutions. That could happen in the near future because we don’t think it’s fair that we pay the salaries and they use our players and they get income using our players. This is something that has to be treated very seriously. We hope they will hear what we want to tell them.”
“The objective of reducing from 20 to 16 teams is to give more space to our players. Then once the dates are liberated, these dates are not for the (national) federations. The dates are for the clubs to organise friendly games or to increase the European competitions.”
Rosell said UEFA needed to address calls by the European Club Association (ECA) for a bigger Champions League to create more revenue.
“We want to have the Champions League under the umbrella of UEFA, but we also want UEFA to hear our demands, what the European Club Association is asking. We are asking for more revenue. We are asking for governance, transparency, insurance. We would like to have a Champions League with more teams. That means, one day we can play a Barcelona v Manchester United Champions League game on Saturday or Sunday.”
UEFA’s agreement with the ECA expires in 2014 and Rosell warned the clubs could go it alone unless the governing body accepts its demands.
“If not then ECA is entitled to organise their own champions competition by themselves,” he said.
Rosell said the ECA’s current memorandum of understanding with UEFA was valid until 2014, with a new agreement under discussion.
“If this (a new MoU) doesn’t happen, then the worst case scenario is that we will go away from UEFA.”
Some huge statements here from Rosell in what he fires warning shots at UEFA and FIFA in what could become a really messy situation over the next couple of years.
First lets look at the FIFA related comments which are the international games. Basically Rosell is saying that FIFA is benefiting for the investment that Barcelona has made in players like Messi and Iniesta to create these massive international tournaments and they are not sharing in the cost. Also, FIFA keeps looking to add more games to the international calendar (as that is how they make their money) and the clubs are against it as removes one or two match days that they could use to play games.
Similar theme to UEFA except here, Rosell is threatening to split away from UEFA in 2014 and create their own super league with the top 16-20 teams in Europe. The Champions League is a huge moneymaker for UEFA and who would pay attention if Barcelona, Man Utd Real Madrid and Inter Milan were not playing?
A European super league has been rumored for years as it would generate an incredible amount of revenue for the teams involved. The negative is that it might kill several of the top European leagues. Would the ECA really break away from Europe? I doubt it, but their is a lot of brinkmanship to be played over the two to three years on this.